Soon, in­sur­ance cover for rail pas­sen­gers

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Sri­nand Jha sri­nand­jha@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: The rail­way min­istry is work­ing to­wards pro­vid­ing accident in­sur­ance to pas­sen­gers, of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day, a move which could see the end of com­plex pro­ce­dures for pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion by the pub­lic sec­tor gi­ant which fer­ries around 23 mil­lion peo­ple daily.

Se­nior of­fi­cials in the min­istry said rail­way min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu has pro­posed farming out the job to pub­lic sec­tor in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

“The de­tails of scheme roll­out are cur­rently be­ing worked out and are likely to be elab­o­rated upon in the rail­way min­is­ter’s up­com­ing bud­get speech next Fe­bru­ary,” a se­nior min­istry of­fi­cial said.

Ini­tially, the in­sur­ance sur­charge is likely to be of­fered as an op­tion only for the re­served cat­e­gory of pas­sen­gers.

“In­sur­ance firms in­clud­ing the New In­dia As­sur­ance Com­pany have ex­pressed keen­ness to par­tic­i­pate in the project,” the of­fi­cial said.

How­ever, the of­fi­cials ad­mit­ted that in the ab­sence of an in­de­pen­dent safety reg­u­la­tor, the com­pa­nies will have to de­cide the com­pen­sa­tion amount on the ba­sis of in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the rail­ways.

As of now, travel on the In­dian Rail­ways’ 64,500-km net­work is not in­sured and com­pen­sa­tion to accident vic­tims or their fam­i­lies is given on the ba­sis of de­crees from 21 benches of the Rail­ways Claims Tri­bunal spread across the coun­try.

Rail­ways min­is­ters also award com­pen­sa­tion amounts out of their dis­cre­tionary funds.

Of­fi­cials said the present sys­tem was rid­dled with cor­rup­tion.

CON­TIN­UED ON P6

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